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Meet UP's new CM Yogi Adityanath: A staunch pro-Hindutva leader who has several criminal cases against him

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday chose Yogi Adityanath as the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. The firebrand pro-Hindutva leader is no novice to controversy.

The five-time Member of Parliament from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, is the Mahant or head priest of the Gorakhnath Mutt, a Hindu Temple.

Hailing from a Rajput family, he holds a Bachelors degree in Mathematics from H.N.B. Garhwal University, Uttarakhand.

A staunch Hindu, Adityanath has been embroiled in several religious controversies. In 2005, it was alleged that he led a purification drive involving conversion of Christians to Hinduism.

Yogi Adityanath has several criminal cases against him. Some of the charges include rioting, attempt to murder, carrying deadly weapons, endangering life or personal safety of others, unlawful assembly, trespassing on burial places and criminal intimidation.

Adityanath has been winning the Gorakhpur seat in UP since 1998; at 26, he was the youngest MP in the 12th Lok Sabha. Gorakhpur seat in UP since 1998; He was also the youngest MP in the 12th Lok Sabha.

The fifth-term Lok Sabha member is the mascot of the party's Hindutva-wrapped agenda of development.

Adityanath's original name was Ajay Singh Bisht. He has done BSc in Maths from HNB Garhwal University. A very popular leader in UP, he is known for his ability to attract eyeballs with his fiery speech.

In 2002, Yogi Adityanath founded the Hindu Yuva Vahini. Labelled a socio-cultural outfit, its volunteers were known to use strong-arm tactics in riots, cow-protection drives and to stop ‘love jihad’. HYV has its presence across Gorakhpur, Mau, Deoria, Kushinagar, Maharajganj, Basti, Sant Kabir Nagar and Siddharthnagar.

In 2015, Yogi Adityanath said that those who oppose yoga can leave India and that they should be drowned Adityanath once likened actor Shah Rukh Khan to Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed and asked him to go to Pakistan.

The firebrand leader, known for his clout in east UP districts surrounding Gorakhpur, Adityanath was the second most sought-after campaigner in the state in the assembly elections after Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh along with his Cabinet colleagues will take oath on March 19 at 2.15 pm at Kanshiram Smriti Upvan.

Dinesh Sharma and Keshav Prasad Maurya have been appointed as the deputy chief ministers of the state.